First and foremost, Balsam Academy is and has always been a school that values The Life of the Mind. The children are introduced to the logic and strategy of chess, to explore nature on a trek in the village, sleep-over in the year, field trips to understand and explore learning. These experiences stimulate our students to be avid learners eager for the chance to broaden their intellectual horizons.
Mature Behaviour is equally important. Our more than 1000 children, aged three through sixteen, are expected to exhibit age appropriate behaviour, and we make our expectations clear in every stage. In the first stage, mature behaviour includes learning to work together, to share the space and facilities, and to learn to be friends. In the second stage, students and parents are given the "Statement of Core Values," outlining expectations including 'using cooperative strategies to resolve conflict' and 'being honest, kind and mannerly.' In the third stage, students take more responsibility for themselves, work to form a community with their peers, and learn good sportsmanship as they compete on interscholastic teams. In the fourth stage, mature behaviour includes accepting an Honour Code, taking on significant leadership roles, and making responsible choices.
Hand in hand with Mature Behaviour comes Mutual Respect. Balsam Academy does not have a 'typical student,' but welcomes an extremely diverse student population from Ranipet. We value diversity of all kinds, including racial, ethnic and socio-economic background and gender, as well as diversity of ideas and approaches. We incorporate that diversity into our classrooms and onto our playing fields. The environment of respect at Balsam Academy makes it a safe place for students to explore with the knowledge that they will be supported through their successes and setbacks.
As important as a safe intellectual environment is a Secure and Healthy Environment. Our campus provides students with the space and facilities they need to take advantage of the educational opportunities available. The Guidance Program at every stage works with students and families to help them navigate the emotional, social, and physical changes that come with every stage of development. Most importantly, all members of our community work together to create an environment free of harassment, racism, bullying, and other behaviours that could make someone feel unsafe or unvalued.
We want each student to be the best she or he can be. We encourage them to take risks, to try new things, and to stretch themselves. We also want all of our students to see beyond themselves to appreciate the larger community, and to want to give back. Students participate at every level and they are given the opportunities for both individual and collaborative work, and learn to work together to achieve common goals.